He who made me whole…. John 5:11a (YLT)

The cry of the broken heart is Can I be made whole? Wholeness comes out of brokenness. This was the case for the man Jesus healed in John 5. He had suffered for 38 years when Jesus saw him at a pool called Betheseda. John tells us that Jesus knew he had been ill for a long time and asked him, Would you like to get well? You would think that the man would have immediately responded, “Of course I do!” Instead, he began to make excuses. Warren Wiersbe noted that the man had been in that sad condition for so long that his will was as paralyzed as his body.

Have you ever felt that way? Brokenness can do that. Brokenness is a double-edged sword. While it can lead to blessing, it can also devastate us until we feel beyond help, like damaged goods. The devastating effects of sin had paralyzed this man until he had given up hope of ever being healed. He was looking to the wrong source of healing. There was a legend that, when the water in the pool was stirred by an angel, the first to get in would be healed. What hope had he of ever beating someone else into the pool? He couldn’t move. But, Jesus came into this man’s brokenness and offered wholeness. Jesus told the man 

Stand up, pick up your mat and walk! (Vs. 8)

But, how? He told the man to do the very thing he had been unable to do for 38 years on his own. But, in response to Jesus’ command, he had the power to do it! He was made whole by the power of Jesus’ spoken word! That’s all it took!

When Jesus encountered him later at the Temple, He gave him a stern warning in verse 14, 

Now you are well; so stop sinning, or something even worse may happen to you.

Sin had led to this man’s brokenness, yet grace offered him wholeness. Just like this man, Jesus knows the condition of our hearts. He knows the brokenness sin brings, and He offers us wholeness. What is it that is paralyzing you and preventing you from experiencing all that God wants to accomplish in you? What is it that Jesus may be challenging you to do that, apart from Him, you could never do? When He brings wholeness in our lives, a watching world sees it! As in the case of this man, they want to know what happened. How were we changed? Who made you whole? That’s when we can point with grateful hearts to Jesus and say, “He made me whole!”

  1. I have two things about this message that bothers me. First, it makes it sound like this man had a choice in being paralyzed. This man wasn’t paralyzed because he sinned, he had a disability, correct? And over time, he gave up hope. This is the sin, correct? Then later when Jesus spoke again saying, “Now you are well so stop sinning or something worse may happen to you”, this sounds like a threat. First, I thought that “bad things happen to good people”, that because we live in a sinful world things are going to happen. We need God in our lives to get through these things; secondly, God doesn’t make bad things happen on purpose to get our attention right? This almost sounds as if He does. Did He mean about giving in to false God’s again or stop believing in Him? Please help me understand.
    Thank you, Kami

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